It was summer, 1989.
Then I was challenged to see what was happening in the Art Department of Fresno State in a little closet of a room. Back in the corner was an IBM 286 and on the monitor was pure magic. I didn’t pick up a paintbrush or tube of paint for the next eight years.
1989 marked the beginning of the so-called ‘middle period’ of computer art. Fresno State was the first university in the system to adopt a fledgling computer art program. That dinosaur of a computer had a tiny hard drive and 4 MG of RAM, but we had a color monitor and Apple didn’t. It was before Windows, back in the ‘World of DOS’ when most people didn’t know how to turn a computer on, let alone how to make fine art with one. I wouldn’t trade those eight years for anything. This was a time of intense exploration and discovery and we felt like we were on the wagon train heading west and someone said gold had been discovered beyond the mountains ahead.
A fellow digital artist then wrote: “Donnalee owns a bit of the compass, which says a lot when confronted by a universe of possibilities on the computer. What if the Oregon Trail pathfinder had come with infrared night vision. We all stand at the Twenty-First Century trail head of technology. . . some stand closer, more up front, some with purpose and credentials, some arrive by the press of the crowd. Donnalee survives to explore and to share and you would be most gratified by parting the crowd and welcoming her through.”
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